NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 5/4/17

John Lutz & Scott AdsitGenius comics John Lutz (staff writer for Seth Meyers; cast member of 30 Rock, six years as staff writer for Saturday Night Live) teams with fellow 30 Rock cast member Scott Adsit (voice of robot Baymax in Disney’s Big Hero 6; co-writer/director/producer & cast member of Adult Swim’s awesome & Emmy-winning Moral Orel) to form a super-smart and hilarious star duo crafting in the moment one of the very finest improv shows you’ll ever see: John & Scott (8:00 pm, $7 (even if it sells out of seats, you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing), UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

6:00 pm ($7): Improvisors Irene Carroll, Stephen Thornton, and Scotty Watson aim to create a story via “organic discovery and character work” at The PIT Mainstage: 3.14 (pi)

[TOP PICK] 6:30 pm ($5): Jay Malsky is a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This one-man musical Jay’s created shows off all of his strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. Come enjoy this audition for a regular slot on the UCB Chelsea schedule (I saw it when it debuted last year at Solocom—where it was the best show of the festival): Spank: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): A one-woman show by fabulous multi-talented comic & singer Katie Hutch about being a lady “featuring original parody songs, awkward video shorts, uncomfortable personal stories, and more” (for video samples, please click here and here and here) at The PIT Mainstage: Katie Hutch: Lady-Like

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and 8:00 & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

7:30 pm ($7): NYC stand-ups Django Gold, Maria Heinegg, Eman El-Husseini, Sydnee Washington, and Jaboukie Young-White perform at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($5): Eclectic acts that might involve costumes or other props from Dan Perlman, Luke Mones, Dewey Lovett, and Julia Solomon, plus videos by Brian Levy, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Hannah Boone & Gabe Smith: Ticonderoga

7:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy by duo Camille Theobald & Josh Hickman at The PIT Underground: Desperate Measures

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate a Star Wars movie, with each using only what he or she can remember from seeing the movie just once. To add to the fun are a few rules: “Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in Titanic but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story” at The PIT Mainstage: Star Wars: A New Hope…Entirely From Memory

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Hero (making up a brand new superhero…played by eight improvisors exploring such questions as “What does it mean to be a hero? What does it mean to be human?”), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A featured stand-up (not announced) performs a 30-minute set, with a 15-minute opening from another stand-up, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jenn Welch & Tom Lisi: The Half-Hour Hour

[$] 8:30 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Liza Treyger, Sam Morril, Alingon Mitra, and more trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Jena Friedman (wry dark political stand-up; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show), Charles Gould (Comedy Central; co-host of the Dan + Joe + Charles Show), Kristal Adams, Jamali Maddix, and Rojo Perez perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by rising stars Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Fresh Out and Homeschooled, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York) and/or Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code): Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($8): Shalewa Sharpe (Keith and the Girl; comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), Erica Bradshaw, Marc Gerber, and Brian McGuinness perform stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Liz Simons & Jenn Wehrung: Laugh It Up, Astoria

9:00 pm ($7): Improv who are “quick” make up a show on the spot quickly (“Don’t blink, or you might miss it”) at The PIT Underground: Real Quick

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, comedy duo Amanda Giobbi & Kelley Quinn perform a Top 40 music-driven sketch show: Power Hour

…and in the second other of this double bill, two of the sharpest improvisors in NYC, Shannon O’Neill (The Chris Gethard Show, Broad City, The Stepfathers, UCB-NY Artistic Director) and Tami Sagher (superb TV writer for Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Girls, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother; co-star of Mike Birbiglia film Don’t Think Twice; writer and producer for Mad TV 2001-2006) invite their brilliant improvisor pals to make up scenes with them: Tami and Shannon Have Friends

[$] 9:30 pm ($15): A musical parody of the Star Wars movies with periodic solid moments, and that includes superb comics Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman (Your Love, Our Musical), and terrific singer Tarik Davis (whose “bromance” duet with Evan as Finn & Poe is the highlight of the show). Unfortunately, most of the time the script doesn’t quite hit the mark; but if you’re a die-hard fan, you might get a kick out of this production playing through May 6th at The PIT Mainstage: Star Wars: The Farce Awakens

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($7): An improv show revolving around the song & CD Jock Jamz. Specifically, every scene will be edited with someone screaming “Jock Jams!;” music from Jock Jams will play over the sound system; and all members of the host improv group—which coincidentally is named Jock Jamz—will dance wildly no matter where they are in the theatre until the music stops. This special energy happens with 2-3 guest improv troupes at The PIT Underground: Jock Jamz

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): In another upset, last week indie improv challenger Funky Hard Beats slammed Airwolf to the ground with a narrow vote of 84 to 75. New champion FHB will compete against house improv group Higgins for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($7): A variety show that encourages comics to perform whatever they’re most passionate about at the UCB East theatre hosted by Nicole Pasquale: WOKE AF: A Mind-Opening Variety Show

11:00 pm ($7): Improv with feedback at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Matthew Woods & Dan Miller: Improv MD

Thursday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Stand-up open mic in which 15 walk-ins whose names are drawn from a bucket get to tell jokes on stage for 4 minutes each at UCB East hosted Brandon Scott Wolf & Paul Oddo: Thursday Night Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up with 4 minutes per comic (sign-up starts at 5:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jake Vevera & Amy Liszka: The QED Thursday Mic

6:00 pm & 7:00 pm ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

6:00 pm ($3): A weekly improv jam for which the number of participants on stage is determined by a roll of the dice at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jon Monje, Glorillis Tavarez, Trumane Alston, and Julien Darmon: Chance Encounters Jam

6:30 pm ($5): If you’re a gal who’d like to try stand-up but are wary of being vulnerable in a tough male-dominated room, this show may be the perfect opportunity for you—an all-female open mic, with the first 15 comics to sign up (starting at 5:50 pm) getting 3 minutes each on stage at The PIT Underground: Ladies Night Open Mic

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (34 Pell Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with a veteran improv group to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer Thursday

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Walk-in stand-up open mic (signup at 10:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chelsea Condren, Kate Moran, and Kristin Seltman: Late Night Snack Open Mic

10:30 pm ($3): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Thursdays After Class Jam

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10)

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20)

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10)

The PIT Loft
(154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Union Hall
(702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Littlefield
(622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Bell House
(149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25)

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
(27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

Village Underground
(130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)

Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!)

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: